Thursday, July 17, 2008

One Tough Cookie

Today is an exciting day. I've been swamped at work and too busy to make any food that you might care to see (trust me), but I have a welcome sweet treat. My friend Alyssa has very graciously provided me with a wonderful guest blog and delicious recipe for banana chocolate chip cookies (yay!). So without further ado, I pass the reigns of the Olive Tree to Alyssa:

I have a confession to make. I got my favorite, go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe from the back of the Nestle Tollhouse bag. Yes, like Phoebe's grandmother, I'm a copycat. But it's an easy recipe, and it works, and I am not ashamed!

The thing about baking is it's a science. It's not easy to fake a recipe unless you understand the how and the why, which is the exact opposite of how I cook, using recipes only as a guide, playing, tasting, and modifying as I go. When I bake, I follow recipes exactly, or pretty close to it, maybe subbing a spice if I don't have it.

But yesterday, thanks to my 3-year-old son, I did something marvelous. I made banana chocolate chip cookies.

I'd bought a ginormous bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips from Costco a couple of weeks ago to use for cookies, melting chocolate for icing, and a whole host of other things. Up until yesterday, all I'd done was eat them straight from the bag when I needed a chocolate fix. But Ethan requested cookies, so I pulled out the bag (and the recipe on the back), and we got to work. As we beat the sugar and butter, Ethan suggested we add a banana. I think he wanted to eat it and thought, maybe if I suggest it for the cookies, she'll give it to me (the kid would eat an entire bunch of bananas in one day if I'd let him). The two bananas on the counter were getting overripe anyway, so in the first one went.

We sampled the batter. Verdict: Not banana-y enough. In went the second one, accompanied by a sprinkle of cinnamon. In went the chips. I debated adding walnuts but wasn't sure if they would pass the Ethan test.
When the cookies came out of the oven, they were insanely soft and moist, almost like banana bread, most likely because I didn't increase the flour to compensate for the extra wetness from the bananas. But that was perfect for us. We like our cookies to be less dense and crispy in this house. Ethan enjoyed his dunked in a cup of milk until it almost dissolved.

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

The recipe on the ginormous bag of chips called for more butter than I had in the house so I halved the recipe as best as you can half 3/4 of a cup when you don't have a 3/8 cup measure. If you want a denser cookie, I would add more flour until the batter is more doughy and less runny.

1 cup flour
1 tbsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 large egg

2 ripe bananas, mashed

1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375 F.

2. Combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.

3. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in a large mixer bowl until creamy. Add egg, beating until well mixed. Add mashed-up banana. Gradually beat in flour. Stir in chips.

4. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Or, if you prefer larger cookies, you can drop by the 1/4 cup onto ungreased baking sheets and bake for 12 to 13 minutes at 350 F. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!


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